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Japan typhoon toll reaches 78

Two men in a tree await rescue as other passengers sit atop a bus caught in floodwaters from Typhoon Tokage.
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Japan is left to sort out the damage from typhoon Tokage.
Tokyo (Japan)

TOKYO, Japan -- As the cleanup continues, the death toll in Japan from Typhoon Tokage has reached 78, with 14 others missing and another 350 people injured.

It is the heaviest toll from a storm since October 1979, when 115 people died or remain unaccounted for after a typhoon.

Search and rescue crews Friday are combing areas devastated by the typhoon that unleashed high winds and heavy rains two days earlier.

The typhoon -- a record 10th to hit Japan this year -- triggered widespread landslides that forced thousands to flee.

Tokage swept ashore Wednesday, striking Japan's main islands before being downgraded to a tropical storm later in the evening.

By early Thursday, the storm had headed east into the Pacific Ocean.

But at least 20 people were still listed as missing and authorities said the death toll was expected to rise.

At Toyama, 255 km (158 miles) west of Tokyo, 167 people, including 102 trainees aged about 20, were being slowly taken to shore from their ship.

The 2,556-tonne Kaio Maru ran aground during the storm. Three suffered injuries such as broken wrists.

The ship was waiting out the typhoon when winds of 144 km/h (89 mph) and high seas swept it onto the breakwater, an official at the National Institute for Sea Training, its operator, told Reuters.

A Coast Guard official told the news agency: "Waves were crashing onto the deck, making it impossible for the crew and trainees to get out themselves."

Rescuers in the western Japanese region of Okayama searched in the rubble of seven homes crushed in a landslide hoping to find survivors.

Three people were killed when waves smashed a concrete breakwater and then their home in Kochi, on Shikoku island in western Japan.

Television images showed people holding on to power poles to stay on their feet as the storm swept up the coast towards Tokyo.

Telephone poles stuck up out of muddy water that still covered vast areas near the ancient capital city of Kyoto.

Thirty-seven people who had spent the night on top of a tourist bus after being stranded by floodwaters were rescued by a boat early on Thursday.

Tokyo was buffeted by strong winds and rain but no major damage was reported.

Storms and floods have now killed more than 100 people in Japan this year and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

The previous typhoon, Ma-on, pummelled Tokyo and killed six people across the country earlier this month.

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